Friday, April 26, 2019

Comments by rasselas.redux

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  • Steve McCrea wrote: “Since Benzos and alcohol both act on the same systems in the brain, if alcohol causes brain damage, it stands to reason that benzos would do the same eventually.”

    According to neuroscience, Benzos and alcohol do not act on the same systems in the brain. It does not stand to reason that benzos have the same damaging effects on the brain as alcohol. Benzos do act on the GABA system, as well as many other hypothetical systems, but not in the same way as alcohol, which also acts on many other hypoythetical brain systems, and not all of the same ones, or in the same way.

    Brain damage is cell death, necrosis. It’s true that benzos and alcohol cause necrosis. But not in the same way, and not in the same patterns, and not predictably in all people.

  • Sera Davidow wrote: “I’m going to be headed to a “Legislative Breakfast” at the end of this week that is inevitably going to include stories that fit the format you, I, and so many others are pushing back against.”

    Steve McCrea wrote: “I don’t think the stories themselves are what folks are objecting to.”


    Steve McCrea wrote: “It’s the apparent use of these stories to perpetuate the status quo.”

    Please elaborate on how that is so. It isn’t readily apparent to me.

    “The apparent enforced limitations put on the stories so as not to “upset” anyone, not to mention the choice to threaten civil commitment when someone’s story is too scary for them to hear.”

    There is no threat of civil commitment made by the competition organisers. What they say is that if some submits what is effectively a suicide-note they agree to be contacted by a professional from the organisation running the competition.

    The enforced limitations are not unreasonable. They say they don’t want “sugar-coated” prose, but something impactful and inspiring. They don’t want something self-indulgent and exploitative of the reader which may inspire them to snuff themselves. That’s a sensible balance.

  • The above concludes thusly:

    “In the late summer of 2010, I decided to address the issue head on using
    art in a series called Live Through This. I took a voice recorder and my
    camera, and I went to the source. I started to talk to other attempt
    survivors about their experiences—what led up to their attempt(s), their
    recovery, how they were treated by medical professionals, their feelings
    about psychiatric medications, what their support systems look like,
    other factors, and wherever else the discussion led. After each
    conversation, I made a portrait. I moved in close and asked each survivor
    to look into my lens as if they were looking directly into the eyes of the
    I started to publish these portraits and stories online as a kind of
    experiential catalog—as proof that, not only are we not alone, but that
    this issue spans all age ranges, ethnicities, faiths, sexual orientations,
    gender presentations, and any other box we might want to put a person
    in. I’ve interviewed 115 suicide attempt survivors in 13 US cities. I have
    no plans to stop.
    I’m not trying to normalize suicidal feelings. I tell this story and I do this
    work because I want people to know that this doesn’t happen in a
    vacuum. The suicidal mind can’t be stereotyped. When we do it safely,
    talking about these feelings can be empowering. It can create
    identification and breed compassion. It can heal. It can open us up to
    possible solutions, both for ourselves and the system at large. Maybe it
    can even save lives, but we won’t know until we try.
    I wish I could say that I didn’t still battle my mind and the thoughts that
    I’d be better off dead sometimes, but I do. The difference now is that I’m
    not afraid to talk about it. I’m not afraid to ask for help when I need it. I
    know I’m loved even when I can’t feel it. And I know I will be able to
    power through any difficult moment because I know, without a doubt,
    that I’m not alone.”

  • Okey-dokey.

    I have read the 2015 winner: – Redeemed by Dese’Rae L. Stage

    The charge of “recovery porn” again does not hold.

    One paragraph reads: “My story is not unique. There are so many others out there just like it,
    but the society we live in tells us that we can’t talk about suicide, that
    doing so is attention-seeking behavior, that it only happens to “crazy”
    people. The truth is, this can happen to anyone, and until we
    stop sterilizing it by talking in figures, stereotyping it, romanticizing it,
    sensationalizing it, or avoiding it completely, we’re not going to save any

  • The competition winner in 2016 was Baltering from Bedlam by Ashley Loftin. I have just now read that text and I found nothing disagreeable or exploitative. It was tasteful and redemptive.

    I can’t see what the problem is.

    I suppose some would object to the fact that the competition winner expresses no qualms about being diagnosed borderline. Or that anti-depressants and therapy were helpful to her. If they were then they were and why should she or others be made to feel shameful for having bad experiences, going through mainstream treatments, and getting back on their feet and leaving it all behind?

    People unrecovered from suicidal impulses may be disadvantaged from entering the writing competition because they are dead. Or simply that they have found themselves unable to break free from their rut and achieve the narrative arc of someone like Ashley Loftin.

    My advice to such people is find some other competition and enter that.

    And a $10 entrance fee is cheaps as chips, all told.

    I do not understand the objection. I’ll read a couple more when I have time but strongly suspect none of them deserve to be scorned at either.

  • @ Sylvain Rousselot

    The human race, particularly here in the West, is very very fucked up indeed and that has been getting worse for some time now. Is perhaps accelerating as I type. The neurosis/psychosis, the delusions, the utter insanity of people is increasing and while psychiatry is undoubtedly off the ball about the true nature of humanity’s insanity, they are not as far off it as you are suggesting.

  • “Mental Health Europe advocates for a psychosocial approach to mental health, which instead of defining mental ill-health as a ‘disease’ or ‘illness’ caused by purely biological factors, looks to a person’s life and social environment, treating these factors as equally important in understanding well-being and mental ill health. It appreciates the lived experience of people who have experienced mental distress and recognises them as experts in their own lives.

    We all have mental health. Mental health is not only about disease or the absence of it. It is also about wellbeing and experiencing positive emotions: it is about us, our lives, work, relationships, physical health and social environment.”

    Thumbs up from me. Other than the bit about me being an expert on my own life, when in fact, like every other humble human being, I am a lifelong rookie. Life is too short to become an expert on it. But I do have some insights which only I can have, because only I can have them, because only I can live my life, which should not be brushed aside or crushed.

    It’s sad that the UK is trying to break free of Europe in order that it can go deep into a psychotic delusion of grandeur about a long-dead and romanticised Britishness of colonialism, Empire, xenophobia, jingoism.

    Maybe MHE can lobby to parachute in European psychologists to counsel this deluded and increasingly psychotic nation and help it back from the brink of impending disaster?

  • If you wish to become more familiar with Gandhi’s concept of Satyagraha this is a good text:

    In a 1914 speech Union leader Nicholas Klein said: “And, my friends, in this story you have a history of this entire movement. First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you. And then they attack you and want to burn you. And then they build monuments to you. And that, is what is going to happen to the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America.”

    I have a hunch that monuments were not built in the memory of Nicholas Klein and the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. Which may explain why that bit gets cut out in the bastardised versions.

    Nonetheless a number of researchers point to Klein as the origin of the misattributed Gandhi quote.

  • Krista Hartmann wrote: “Many are familiar with the following quote by Mahatma Gandhi. It sustained me as I shouldered the burden of going it alone:

    First they ignore you.

    Then they laugh at you.

    Then they fight you.

    Then you win.”

    If you are familiar with the speeches and writing of Gandhi, as I am, in a very humble and respectful way, then you’ll know that Gandhi never said this. He never wrote this. this has nothing whatsoever to do with him.

    Which begs the question why are there so many apparently flaccid lines slapped with pseudo-authenticity of Gandhi-ness?

    Is it another form of racism?

    I dunno. What I do know is the man never said this. In fact, the nearest available quote is from an American textile union leader from the early 20th C.

    Why do people keep doing this to Gandhi? I don’t get it.

  • Oldhead wrote: “If the term “injury” is really important to you, you might make a case that trauma is “injurious” to the soul, recognizing it as a poetic/metaphorical abstraction, and that stress and toxins are literally injurious to the body, so that both connotations of “injury” might co-exist here.”

    Stress and toxins are not “literally” injurious to the body. They can *actually* be injurious to the body. As you wrote above, it’s important to be careful with language.

  • I have only read the headline. Reclaiming Humanity at the Dawn of Posthumanism. Problem therein is:

    – from what or who are we to reclaim it from?
    – if this is the dawn of posthumanism (it almost certainly isn’t) then what is the advantage to a posthumanist to reclaim humanity?

    and consequently
    – how does one prevent a dawning of something new with the fading light of what came before it… if the light is fading on humanity and brightening on posthumanity, then why appeal to that which is failing, and it failing because of its failures?

    My hunch is the article is a call to primitivism, a colonialist romanticist fantasy of primitivism… which has failed, and it failing, just as the modern human too has failed, and is failing.

    In times of crisis appeals to the past become ever more prevalent and desperate. An idealised past that never existed.

    I prefer the idea of embracing change, humanising change, and desisting from belittling the emergent generations, desisting from shaming them and making them feel wrong and helpless and doomed.

    They possess all the mental, emotional, and creative energy that anyone did, at any point in human history. I think they’ll be okay, even if they opt to interface their brains with their quantum computers, and gameify their REM sleep, and high score their sex lives, and constantly respawn their identities.

    They’ll be okay, and humans will one day be kept in zoos, for sentient robots to gawk at and coo over.

  • There is no need to worry about a handful of commentators under the line of Mad in America. They are not going to take psychiatry down with pithy words and textual posturing. The majority of people that write articles here are interested in reform. Change is inevitable, and discussions are important to influence that change. What’s important is for as many voices to be heard as possible. There are lots of places on the internet that are pro-psychiatry… and anything even hinting at critique and questioning is abruptly rounded on, and rarely tolerated. And when it is tolerated it tends to be ghettoised.

    The majority of people in the mental health system are like you. They are able to discern that there is a lot of good and a lot that is far from good. There are many excellent people, and many not-so excellent people.

    As far as mental illness goes, it’s an attempt at an explanatory narrative. But by the by, it is only a very weakly evidenced narrative. However, culturally, it is the favoured narrative and all signs are that its massive growth is going to continue and so again, you have no need to worry about people taking your mental illness away from you, if that is the explanatory narrative you wish to invest in, which gives you meaning.

    Additionally, no-one is going to take your drugs from you, if you wish to go on taking them, you are free to go on taking them. Some people — the majority in this place — do not take benefits from drugs or were very harmed by them. If that is not your experience, then you may be one of the lucky ones, and it would seem that again, you are in the majority. Because most people don’t claim to have had bad experiences with drugs and in fact attest to some benefit from them.

    Benzos I agree are handy, if used very sparingly. A lot of people have a hard time on them, and a hard time getting off them. If that isn’t your experience then no-one here has the right to tell you otherwise. Some people do have a habit of contradicting peoples’ personal experiences. It’s uncouth of them, but that is their wont. I wouldn’t take it too seriously. There’s no point.

  • Gandhi knew what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.”

    Gandhi unfortunately didn’t know what he was talking about when he said, “Be the change.” Because he never said it.

    According to Quote Investigator: “Gandhi died in 1948, and the earliest close match known to QI appeared many years later in 1974 within a book chapter written by educator Arleen Lorrance.”

    Arleen Lorrance who? Not quite as sexy but certainly the quote is a world apart from the polticial writings of Ghandhi, who would never have advocated for the individualism that the misquote promotes.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Carl Gustav Jung, if you’ve seen the movie A Dangerous Method (2011) is known for having had a relationship with one of his patients, or former patients, and a future psychoanalyst herself, Sabina Spielrein, but perhaps it was actually after the professional relationship had dissolved that the intimate one began.”

    Nope. Jung commenced the spanky hanky-panky with Ms Spielrein while undertaking his experimental version of Freud’s techniques. We know this because he revealed to Freud in private correspondence what was going on and Freud was furious, this adding further to their inevitable parting of ways. Spielrein expressed no regrets for Jung’s groundbreaking therapeutic fucking. But what she did regret were a number of her psychoanalytic ideas being stolen by Jung and Freud and her being effectively written out of the history books.

    I agree with Will Hall’s implicit call for fighting corruption. I think that all therapists that consider themselves therapeutic fuckers should come out about it and make it absolutely clear from the off that their therapy may involve them prostituting themselves out for cash.

    I expect gentler terms would be arrived at in the honest self-reappraisal.

    Therapy with benefits?

  • Hands up who’s read the original study?

    It’s very poorly designed. And it sets the bar so low that it’s no wonder they found a strong correlation. I suppose, setting the bar high (ie. in their definition of psychosis, rather than sloppily going ahead with psychosis-like, or anything a little teeny bit like psychosis at all, anything, you once thought you heard a sound, any sound, and then you didn’t, and did you ever have a bad experience in childhood, anything, someone a little bit nasty to you, and made you cry, yes, once? that’s enough) the correlation would have been weak, and so not much point going ahead with something that was clearly intended as an exercise in bias confirmation.

    I’m not opposed to the idea that some people’s problems stem from bad experiences. Although these days this idea seems to have become a bit of a trendy and maddeningly simplifying narrative that has taken off as some kind of mass delusion.

    It would be better surely to come up with robust studies that are courageous enough to risk not confirming the bias, but which might open up other avenues of thought?

    Yes. I know. I expect too much.

  • I trust that you give a shit, Mr McCrea. I trust that if someone was having a hard time in your presence that you’d reach out to them. You’d go out of your way to help them.

    I’m like that too.

    Everyone, including you, including me, can lose sight of that, we can forget, or we can be uptight or worried or frightened. And we’ll hold back and do what most people do, because if you don’t hold back, imagine the shit this person could bring into your life…

    Imagine the shit this person could bring into your life.

    Do you really want that?

    Does anyone really want that?

    You ask, “Would it sell?”

    My counter-question is: “Do you give a shit enough to want that level of shit in your life?”

    Honest answer is no.

    I await your answer.

  • I wrote: “Headline: Mad in the UK “collective” Snubs Mad People”

    Auntie Psychiatry wrote: “Evidence?”

    Everyone snubs someone. That’s the name of the social game. Who have you been snubbing lately? I’ve been snubbing so much I have a sore snub.

    But on a less serious note, it was a joke. Most of the time I’m the only one who gets my jokes. I know they are funny because (1) no-one hardly ever lets me know I’ve made them laugh (2) they make me laugh. This is a currently undocumented form of narcissism, so far as I can tell.

    What I like most about my jokes is how funny they are. Just now I read back and I didn’t cringe or suchlike. I was immediately chuckling to myself. If only someone else could make me laugh the way I make myself laugh. It would be bliss.

  • Peter Breggin wrote: “As family members, therapists or doctors, what if we never again promoted or prescribed drugs as a “treatment” because they ultimately impair our frontal lobes and hence our ability to love?”

    Aye, just stick to those friends of the frontal lobes, alcohol, nicotine, sugar, aspartame, and cocaine.

    I suppose looking back to history, we will find more Love, prior to impairing our frontal lobes with psychiatric drugs?

    Okay. Let’s peer back through time and find the Great Age of Pre-Psychiatric Love. Keep going, keep going… and, keep going. O dear, we appear to have fallen over the edge of human time, to a time without humans.

    Okay, bring it back a bit. Hit the brakes! We’ve hit another cliff-edge, and gone to the time when no humans remain.

    One thing that struck me though was that beauty, that natural strangely harmonic beauty, when the humans aren’t turning the whole world gradually into some kind of plastic legoland of Love… serene… but also… lacking in something.

    Anyway best of wishes to all the lovers of the frontal lobes. Just one word of caution. Don’t get too attached to them. When it comes to the crunch, not even a perfectly functioning unabused pair of frontal lobes will prove much use to ya…

    Love to all xxx

  • I was in a store a few days ago and this woman was having a go at the cashier. She was accusing her of traumatising her. Good grief, I was thinking, and shuffled over to be of assistance, thinking there was perhaps a threat of death situation or some such. Turns out the woman with the trauma-claim was trying to return a pullover with a coffee or red wine stain on it, and the cashier was refusing.

    The emotion in her voice was palpable. No mistake. But trauma?

    In RJ McNally’s book Remembering Trauma, he writes: “The threshold for classifying an experience as traumatic is lower when times are good. In the absence of catastrophic stressors such as war, specialists in traumatic stress turn their attention elsewhere, discovering new sources of victims or hitherto unrecognized trauma.”

    I respect his bathos. People are trivialising trauma. It now means anything which upsets them a little bit, any slight narcissistic injury, any mention of anything which is mildly difficult or unpleasant. And it’s about as sincere as offering an injured dolphin a retirement at SeaWorld.

    Why are people so keen to make everything difficult in life a trauma? What do these kinds of people expect life to be? Even Disney films depict hardship, loss, trials… and they are by and large sentimentalised garbage.

    This is what happens when a small clique of people dominate the picture and make demands for system-change that do not widely reflect what people want and need. You end up with a farce. A traumatising farce.

  • “[…]to assume that someone is knowledgeable enough about the effects of a prescription drug, based on the information his or her doctor provides when writing a prescription, is making a huge leap.

    Maybe I’m wrong, but I do not think that most people have an adequate understanding of biochemistry and physiology to allow them to make informed decisions about the risks of taking medications (psych or non-psych).”

    A doctor can’t tell you what will happen to you. All they can do at best is express hope that you feel a bit better. Whatever that means?

    Even the world’s foremost biochemist is unable to have an adequate understanding of what will happen to *you* if you take a psychoactive drug. Most of their knowledge is based on what has happened to mice, rats and fruitflies. In *isolated* *controlled* environments.

    And then they are unable to predict what will happen to a specific mouse, rat or fruitfly.

    And even then, no-one has a blinkin’ clue what happens when all these drugs enter the wild, and mix it up with all the culturally okayed shit, and all the environmental pollutants, the chemicalised environment, and plastic particulates in the food chain.

    It’s more complex than the simplifying narratives make it out to be.

    Never trust a simplifying narrative!

    There are expectancy effects and there is the placebo effect and some drugs are downy, and some others are uppy, and some others can be trippy. Beyond that, what does anyone really know about drugs and how can anyone realistically measure the effects of drugs on human beings? Moreso, on an individual?

    How can a doctor be held to blame if someone regularly using alcohol, sugar, aspartame and caffeine comes a-pleadin’ for a fix when their coctails catch up with them? And gives them what they want?

    And how honest are people anyway about their drug use with their doctors? Especially, as you know, most people are necking drugs under the self-delusion that they are non-drug substances.

    “The medical profession has a burden of responsibility as the gatekeepers of access to prescription medications. That is the issue being discussed here.”

    It’s all a bit too much scapegoaty and unrealistic if the broad issue of drugs and self-drugging isn’t included in a more honest and open discussion. Singling out one aspect of this drug opera isn’t getting to the heart of the issue. Which seems to be the way the world turns much of the time.

    I agree that the gate is too wide open. And needs pushing closed a fair bit. But afore that gate aren’t simply the gullible and the desperate. It’s a highly drugged population in disarray in a drug-normalised environment.

  • I read you blog post and I like your style and I like your vibe. I don’t have a problem with you using seroquel in order that you can maintain a functional life, especially as you are a working mother.

    I was diagnosed with schizphrenia a long time ago, in my late 20s. I struggle mostly with a generalized anxiety, insomnia, mood, concentration, disinhibiton, and persecutory thoughts. I have had visions and heard voices but they are, for me, quite rare events. I do not use antipsychotics.

    It has been a slow awakening. I have come to understand and accept, for once and for all, that a concussive traumatic brain injury at the age of 4-5 years old is what led to my lifelong difficulties. It has been quite a revelation to finally be acknowledged by my GP and mental health services. It has finally been acknowledged that the TBI has had a terrible impact on my life, and had I been born in recent years, then my childhood would have involved neuropsychologists and special educational and familial support to help me. It is too late now. I am approaching 50 years old. So I use my energies to keep fit and grow good food and when I can explore areas of natural beauty.

    I’ll soon be called in to meet up with a neuropsychologist. There is a charity called Headway and they have meeting groups. I’ve read around the subject a lot and I guess I’ll find people with whom I have a lot in common. Just as I did when finding mental health drop-ins and being on PICUs and wotnot. Lots of people with diagnosis of schizophrenia and bipolar have many of the same symptoms of TBI and vice versa. In fact many of them like me should be given a primary diagnosis of TBI. For me, it’s like I’m getting my genuine identity. Although I would prefer to have both schziophrenia and TBI labels.

    We are very different in that I cope without psychiatric drugs through rejecting magical thinking and you propose that magical thiking is what is going to transform your life.

    I do not doubt your abilities and I hope you have more success in life than I have. Mine has been a series of outrageous disasters, one after the other. I’d not be writing this if I didn’t have a sense of humour.

    I wish you well Ekaterina and hope we can meet face to face some day. We would make one another laugh, and have lots of interesting topics to talk about, I am sure.

  • Oops. Yes, sugar has nutritional value and depicting alcohol as a drug is an opinion. Please forgive my poor education.

    And yes, it’s very naughty when doctors dish out drugs that drug-seeking individualists go seeking. Very naughty indeed. And those poor-drug seeking people isolated in their desolate villages with no access to information. Those poor serfs being led along by the naughty doctors and the naughty pharmacists and their naughty leaflets.

    I mean, who doesn’t trust a leaflet with massive lists of side-effects?

    And we know alcohol and sugar is okay and much better than the naughty doctors stuff because have you ever been given a leaflet detailing lengthy health risks including death when purchasing alcohol and sugar?

    I should hope not!

    Damn those naughty doctors and hurray to the publican and the sugary food retailer!

  • People are entitled to believe that there’s some symbolic meaning in their psychosis. Some people enjoy ATTEMPTING TO SOLVE cryptic crosswords.

    To solve a cryptic crossword requires the crossword to be set by a skilled cryptician.

    So here we have an interesting slant on psychosis. Psychosis is a symbolic puzzle set by a skilled cryptician that has somehow lost the skill to decrypt their own encryptions.

    A therapist is therefore some kind of encryption-breaker, a skilled decryptician.

    Which must mean that my own experinces of psychosis have been enctrypted using complex elliptic curve algorithms that would take the most intelligent person several hundred million years to decrypt. Because I cannot make head nor tail of them and other people have claimed to have solved them, only to have performed the facetious act of filling in the crossword with words that fit and join up and match one another, but don’t actually solve the puzzle.

    Also, it is not black and white. To have problems of the brain does not equate to having a disease. It’s not a unsolved puzzle versus having a disease.

    For instance, traumatic brain injuries (I mean authentic ones, not histrionic ones) in childhood, can result in quite unfathomable developmental issues in the noggin, which even the most skilled cryptician would be unable to solve.

    A traumatic brain injury is not a disease. It doesn’t create a disease. It introduces absurdo-cryptic elements to a person’s personality and perceptual and experiential *styles* that no-one — at least no-one of a humble disposition — can solve.

    Odd (Scandinavian, pronounced “ot”) was terrified. He was walking home from a third group session of Foetal ReTRIB(e)utional A-waken-ing at his local Alienation Centre, and all the faces had become the meatus of a penis, and as he looked at each new passing stranger, each face was a meatus, and their hands were a meatus, and their necks a phallic shaft, and their eyes were like black pre-canecerous moles, and their hair thick strands of pubic growth.

    “The world is turning to cock!” he shouted aloud, and a leathery meatus-faced man was in earshot and gave chase.

    I will take that anecdote to the next ISPS conference — fleshed out, if you will — and request symbolic interpretations.

  • The overuse of the slash without spaces makes reading sometimes harder. Is this a hyphenated word, such as example-hyphenated or, (example–hyphenated) is this a slash? And the slashed out part of a sentence should be a violent departure or abrupt emphasising, not a gentle, or flowing clarification.

    So, say I was writing a sentence — and I want your fucking attention — that is the kind of tonal departure that a slashed out section should be used for, not a part like this, which is gently explaining things in the thematic flow of what came before. In that case, it’s best to use commas, or parentheses.

    Of course, grammar and language changes through constant mangling. But some punctuational rules are worth maintaining, for ease of reading.

  • I reject psychiatry outright. That is why I use antipsychotics. That is also why I accepted the invitation to the ghetto. They leave the door open but I wish to make it absolutely clear that I choose to remain here on my own terms. I have no fear of the world outside the ghetto. I mean, that is actually where I belong. I don’t understand why you can’t see that or why my decision to remain here and bellow and make a name for myself is essential. After all, my experience is universal. My demands are universal. My needs are universal.

    Fuck the open door! I will remain here and you will listen to me. I am beyond important. I am essential. If I wasn’t fundamental why do you think they would bring me here, and why do you think I would choose to remain here, despite the open door and the world outside?

  • It’s important to try and avoid the sententiousness that always accompanies one persons’ attitudes to someone elses’ drug use.

    If you are going to go ahead with the pompous moralising, then it’s best to do so from a very, very solid position of personal abstention from drugs, including from the most prevalent and damaging of all: alcohol and refined sugar.

    Alcohol alone, is the drug of choice for suicide, homicide, rape, domestic and stranger violence, and child abuse. It is toxic to all of the major organs, including the brain, the heart, the liver and the kidneys. It is attributable to a great many home fires, car accidents personal injuries, and disrupted social gatherings.

    How many regulars on here who castigate psychiatric drugs are using alcohol and sugar?

    How many people on here are well-informed and aware of the risks of alcohol and sugar but go on using them anyway?

    And more importantly, why?

    If alcohol and sugar are anything to go by, people can be repeatedly informed of the risks and the likely impacts on their health, but choose to go on using anyway. They weigh the pros and the cons and for them it balances on the positives.

    The same can be done with psychiatric drugs.

    Some people find solace through using them. They are aware of the pros and cons. Agree that people should be better informed. But force is a human rights issue, an infringement.

    But if bad news about drugs was enough to drive people away from them, then as I say, you don’t have to venture far from your own home to work out why bad news isn’t enough. And that’s true for almost everyone.

    Force. Compulsion. That is the problem that needs to be addressed, and perhaps more people inflicting forced drugging would be less willing to partake in this human rights infringement if they themselves were better informed about the risks.

  • People are free to use whatever terms they like without being harassed by the self-proclaimed terminology police. Despite that right to free expression, the terminology police will assert their right to freely express their policing of terminology.

    Embracing diversity and difference is important, but it’s never entirely possible. For instance, I struggle withe embracing rightwing ideologies, sexism, and hate-speech, and folks that push those agendas are careful to remind me about their right to be different.

    There is a line which is drawn at differing places and one person will always be over someone elses’ line.

    Ultimately sides have to be chosen, and then the battle commences. There is strength in numbers. And groupings can make people more vulnerable.

    I find it easy to agree with your sentiments because they are close to mine. I’m convinced I’ve thought myself into the correct and most moral perspective and find value in others that have reached the same conclusions. Other than that lot over there, and that lot over there, and so on, almost infinitely. What’s harder is to work out what I’m getting wrong. The only way to work that out is to actively disagree with myself and others who seem to align with me. Understandably that results in getting shunned. The last thing people want to do is work out what they are getting wrong, especially because that evasive place of sagacity is somewhere in between the values they hold dear and those they reject.

    And that’s true for everyone.

    best wishes.

  • Clearly different people will identify different experiences as tardive akathisia. I can’t relate to your attempt to turn it into words and maybe that’s because it can’t be. Every time I’ve read an attempt to narrate akathisia I’ve been left cold. Important to add that this includes my own attempts.

    I did like you pointing out on your website that akathisia gets red-lined as a spelling error often. As it does here. Which I have remarked on in the past yet it still goes on making me doubt. Which of course is taking the piss.

    (tardive also gets red-lined which again is a massive piss-take for a place like this)

    A lot of your agony seems more connected to dyskinesia. And you seem to be blurring the distinction.

    I’ve asked myself seriously if it is important to maintain the distinction and I think that it is. Dyskinesia is a very visible movement disorder. Akathisia is often an invisible torment.

    But I wish you well. And I hope one day I get to talk to you in person.

  • noel hunter wrote: “Take ostracism, for example. Being ignored, disliked, and left out, no matter how subtle, can be a death sentence for some. It can be more painful and more damaging than physical bullying or abuse.”

    Story of my life. Although I don’t find it painful. I have thought a lot into why I don’t find it painful. And I think it must be because (1) I don’t want a mad persona. so I do try real hard to create a mad persona in text online that is not-quite-me, and thus, not-quite-worthy of emotionally investing in. additionally, it’s the text that matters. not me. text is not a person. and text does not require reactive text to exist. for instance, it is not necessary to validate a book in a bookshop or in a library by leaving one’s own book next to it. in fact, the act of doing that might be considered uncouth. perhaps even criminal.

    (2) if one is ignored it is because one is considered perhaps unpredictable or unreliable or unworthy. again, I find those very agreeable reactions to my mad persona, which I reject. so ignoring me is in fact deepening my sense of abandonment of my false self, thrust onto me, and which I can only escape through active alienation. so thank you to the many people that wish me away. you add your wishes to my own.

    (3) I ignore people too, as does the author of the quote. we do it actively, knowingly, selectively, and as far as we’re concerned, conscientiously, and if we didn’t, we’d start to fall to pieces, because the energy we gain from alienating others, helps us gain and maintain the energy we need in alienating ourselves.

    the peculiar effect of this commitment to ignoring all other people, as much and as often as possible, has had the peculiar reverse effect in the real world. somehow I have become unusually, perhaps even at times, intensely approachable, and try as I might, the poor alienated folk just won’t leave me alone in public, they do not understand why they find me irresistable, or compelling… yet they do and I struggle to have a few moments of peace out and about

    of course, I am impeccably well-mannered during these assaults on my nihilism and misanthropy… remain impeccably and agreeably polite and well-humoured… yet even still, I long to be ignored, to be invisible, if only that I could get on with bone-chilling screaming out to the universe, and remain unheard and unacknowledged, like everyone else

    but, back to the article…

  • Interesting advice.

    The more I study the tactics and the mind-set of the agent provocateur, the more I find it difficult to distinguish the hard-line antipsychiatrist.

    In any activist group, the agent provocatuer will be the one who is most active, is the one that is most radical, is the one that is most consistent, the most pervasive, the most “there”, and is the one that by vurtue of their omnipresence, becomes the one most trusted, and the one that ends up being the one that all narratives must flow through.

    I’m not saying you are an agent provocateur, oldhead, but you share a remarkable number of characteristics.

  • Which brings us back to Frank Blankenship and his assertion that the only struggle worthy of blood sweat n tears is the human rights struggle.

    My interpretation of the antipsychiatrist, no apologies for the grotesque generalisation, is that they are more committed to an eternal debate and an eternal dance macabre with psychiatry, then they are with actual progress. In other words, they just wanna play the good cop bad cop routine, endlessly, sucking all the juice out of and undermining all efforts to find and establish better ways.

    They are the ultimate disruptive force to progress and the key factor as to why progress is so difficult to make, even on the level of discourse.

    For instance, rejecting outright the notion of “alternative” is helping who the most? Psychiatry or those who seek new ways of integrating mad folk into the social fabric?

  • oldhead wrote: “No, you don’t get it and probably shouldn’t try, whatever road you are on, if you are sincere, will eventually lead you to a place where we can at least speak the same language; right now it’s apples & oranges.

    I did not say the “alternative” to psychiatry is socialism, only that socialism is one step along the way to liberation. My point all along has been that the idea of “alternatives” is irrelevant to a discussion about fighting psychiatry. The main point of the above post is that fighting psychiatry and providing a network or program of “support” for troubled individuals are two separate tasks practically speaking and, whatever their relative value, should not be treated as the same.

    As for your last paragraph, even if your faith in “mental health” were realistic, it’s way too late for “change.” I see nothing to support any of your assertions here regarding “discourse.” At any rate, psychiatry has always been an ideology supporting whatever status quo is in effect.”

    It’s worth keeping in mind that oldhead and others have lived under 50 years of political repression/suppression of socialism, and so understandably are prone to romanticise socialism and, perhaps due to generations of educational biasing, have very little understanding either of the history of socialism or, as it is so closely tied to, the history of europe.

    So it is inevitable that a certain level of defensive aggressiveness will show through when talking to people who have lived experience of socialism, and indeed, as in the case of Ekaterina Netchitailova, state communism. There is no reason to believe that socialism is one step or any step towards the abolition of psychiatry. In fact, quite the reverse, the bolsheviks embrace psychiatry rather zealously, for the reasons their rivals do the same.

  • “When we hear about the exact same type of injustice and suffering that we know so intimately again and again for that many years, it is human nature to start to numb out about it a bit. It’s like how school shootings and all mass shootings were such a shock when they began, but now that they are happening every week, it seems, many of us tend to only feel acute emotions about the ones we are somehow more connected to.

    Call me a sociopath if you want…”

    A sociopath wouldn’t openly admit to the numbing. Quite the reverse, they’d most likely have spent 15 years becoming highly skilled at appearing genuinely empathic and inexhaustibly compassionate.

    So I hold my hand up for a high five coz I always appreciate bold honesty.

    One thing which may be slightly taboo to point out here is how maybe that numbing is not only a process of desensitising, but also an understandable defence mechanism… that is going to be experienced by mental health professionals too, people that are daily encountering high levels of stress and emotional pain, confusion and bewilderments… but which all boil down to the same essential dramas repeating themselves. That they willingly go back, day after day, for more, says a lot. I don’t know how they do it. And I don’t know how they can do it and not switch off to some degree.

    Personally, I try and keep away from it all as much as possible. Other mad people can drive me insane. So another high five for your personal qualities that mean you can handle it, even with setting boundaries, its more than I could handle, and more than many people could typically handle, especially helping people through withdrawals, which can be particularly harrowing.

    Best of luck and health.

  • The middle one I posted,, by mistake and it’s recommendations aren’t at all good. So in that case it’s pushing “unsafe” info. For instance “Tails” isn’t safe, better to use it’s hardened cousin, “Heads”. The other two have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    The other two are as sound as you’re going to get with regards information to keep you safe. They have no known third party scripts and trackers. Pay particular attention to the concept of “known”.

    But you shouldn;t trust people on the internet, per se. Find a linux user group near you and they can help and advise. Although be aware that all Linux user groups will be infiltrated in some way by the secret services, for obvious reasons.

    Any website can be compromised, even ones headed-up by uber-geeks that are obsessed with your fundamental right to privacy.

    And no action you can take will be enough to prevent a national actor from infiltrating you, if you are that important.

    But many of these automatic systems can be at least held back somewhat enough to afford some space to breathe. In other areas activists have taken these concerns seriously.

    When they haven’t taken these concerns serriously, they have paid very dearly. A very good example of that is here:

    From an information security point of view these people were very easy to fool using standard social engineering techniques.

    If you don’t think that antipsychiatry activism would be considered reason enough to infiltrate and disrupt, think again.

    It only takes one attached document in an email to be opened up from a “trusted comrade” and your whole network is compromised.

    In the modern world new levels of paranoia are an asset.

    But this is all relatively mundane stuff. It gets really juicy when you open your mind to what is really happening with mental patients (and other vulnerable groups) with regards unlawful in vivo experiments and testings of mind control technologies. That’s where professionals start asking you to tell them who “they” are… in which case, perhaps best to use the term “unknown actors”

  • Althusser’s distinction between the Repressive State Apparatus and the Ideological State Apparatus can help to understand the role of psychiatry. Whats interesting is that in discussions of the RSA and the ISA, psychiatry only very rarely gets a mention. That is another of it’s successes.

    And yes, Oldhead is often hinting at Althusser, even if he may not be aware that he is.

    Having said that, just like other RSAs and ISAs, the function isn’t exclusively malign, and that’s perhaps where antipsychiatry repeatedly fails to gain ground.

    Having said that, Althusser’s concept of interpellation can be difficult to grasp, especially in this age of the self.

  • I’ll break this gently.

    Under RIPA (2000) and IPA (2016), Theresa May’s surveillance laws as Home Secretary and latterly Prime Minister, mental health teams have had the power to be informed about your internet history. This includes metadata such as sites visited, as well as other info such as Paypal* records, online banking records, social media data, pretty much any financial transactions conducted online. This also includes, email (by and large, depending on numerous factors). Now, having dug into this on and off for many years, it would seem that most of this information is provided, on request, by the appropriate regional police force who provide some kind of overview of the information which they can easily obtain, using a combination of national and bespoke local systems. But basically, the mental health services supply a list of names to the police who conduct the checks (and most likely hacks, if someone is using methods to circumvent surveillance) and supply a summary record. I haven’t so far been able to ascertain the level of detail of those summary records, but from what I can glean, they are interested in any personal information which broadens their forensic profiles. So expect a summary of buying habits, porn habits (if any), associations, sexuality, political interests, hobbies, searches, and so on.

    You have no right to access these records. You have no right to check their validity. Or decide who gets to see them.


    Be very careful about making a fuss about this. Never forget Dr Rita Pal.


    Has/is the use of RIPA and IPA powers by mental health teams proportionate and lawful?

    Since the murder of Jo Cox MP, by a mental health service user, the forensic profiling of mental health patients is now a routine matter and essentially the blanket reason given to justify the intrusive digital intelligence-gathering. Additionally, forensic psychology lists mental illness as a possible vulnerability factor in the radicalisation of a person, particularly the lone wolf type. Keep in mind that the most recent surveillance law gives the power to multiple agencies to either instigate or request a partner agency to deploy instrusive covert surveillance on a target individual. This can include microphone, cameras, and tracking devices, in any room/s in the home, and personal vehicles, for example. Although these days most people voluntarily append their person with a sophisticated intrusive surveillance device, namely their smartphone. And keep in mind that the internet is defined in RIPA as “a surveillance device”.

    IPA (2016) introduces a new crime for people involved in covert and overt surveillance. It is now a crime punishable by up to (I think) 7 years in prison to divulge to anyone that they have been, are being, or are going to be, subjected to overt or covert intrusive or non-intrusive surveillance. So if you raise this matter with your mental health service providers, expect to be met with incredulity.

    *(Paypal voluntarily share their data. They aren’t obliged to, as they are based outside UK jurisdiction)

  • Get hold of a de-googled version of Google Chrome such as Chromium. Install the plug-in called Umatrix. Play with it and you’ll soon pick up what to do.

    But if privacy is the goal, you need to be all-in to even stand a chance. So read here:

    and here:

    and here:

    Any serious activists should assume they are operating in a hostile environment and take necessary basic precautions, which are pretty much covered by the above sites.

  • Interesting read. I should say re-read. That’s for the ever-watching eyes. It took me five re-reads to get a handle. As evidenced by my browser history, which also evidences the frequency with which I went off-topic and continually examined information about frontal lobe injury. Additionally, this website has a plugin which evidences how long I stayed on the article each time, and where my mouse wandered.

    Actually, it didn’t as I have it blocked.

    I have just been passing messages via SMS. This is also on the record, kept for a year. And all these messages are continually scanned for keywords and phrases by AI systems.

    Just now I boiled a kettle. This created a known signature on the electricity system, recorded by the smart meter. So that my supplier and GCHQ are aware that (1) I’m at home, and (2) I’m probably having a cup of tea. And they’d be right, on both counts.

    I’ll stop exampling there, as it goes on, and it can frighten some people. But please stop suggesting that the Panopticon is theoretical and internalised.

    It is internalised, yes, by anyone with any amount of common sense.

    But it is not theoretical. It is a lived fact for everyone, particularly in the UK, the most sureveilled state in the so-called free world.

    Mental health patients in the UK are subjected to special provisions under UK surveillance law. This extends to new powers given to mental health teams nationwide who have new, and very close relationships with the secret services.

    This stuff used to be considered paranoia 101. But not any more. It is lived reality.

  • Sceptics often point out people who claim to have lived previous lives invariably claim to be well-known dead people, such as Anne Frank. There is a clear case to be made for overidentification. And there is clearly little concern for the problems of verification. A deliberate cynical fraud would surely involve claiming to be someone dead that is not well-known, whose life is not well-documented. But seemingly, non-famous people only very rarely reincarnate. Whereas famous dead people reincarnate frequently, sometimes multiple times at different places on the Earth, re-occupying living bodies simultaneously. For instance, Jesus reincarnates several thousand times a year, every year, the world over. Which is troubling, given that Jesus is clearly having problems getting the reincarnation right, which suggests some glitch or bug in the spawning system.

    I have tried to find a website that collates the reincarnated dead people, attempts to keep a count. It would be interesting to see how many Anne Franks there are currently, as well as an accurate number of Jesuses. John Lennon often reincarnates too. So does Mozart, Beethoven and — less mentioned — Adolf Hitler. I would like to be able to check in somewhere and keep an eye on the numbers. Not sure why I would find that reassuring, but I would.

    Language-wise, there is little difference between saying “I am Jesus reborn” compared to say “I am *like* Jesus reborn”. This is why I think that frontal lobe injury is probably a key factor in such phenomena, as the frontal lobes play a part in the regulation of self-image.

  • Youre welcome, Ekaterina.

    Like anything it depends, depends, depends. Some people would rather be left alone. I can often count myself in that number. It took a while to come to terms with that. I went through a period of thinking I had to recover. That it was possible to recover. And then, in exploring these areas, I discovered that time and time again, the pressures I was putting on myself were pushing me in the opposite direction. I kept getting worse.

    And I object to my achievements and adaptations, as humble as they are, being referred to as recovery. It’s not recovery to stay alive or not get arrested or have a bath. It’s not recovery to look in a mirror, or write online. You don’t get to recover from what some describe as severe and enduring mental illness. Or schizphrenia. Or whatever. Frontal lobe damage. Traumatic brain injury. Yes, plasticity, and so on. But for gawd’s sake it’s compensatory. All that evolution wasn;t for nothing and yes if you knock out one section of the noggin, another part of the brain can compensate. But it will never, NEVER!, function as well as that original brainflesh.

    I accept that some people want to be in recovery-oriented and so-called compassionate scenarios, and that they go in with high expectations, and come out sometimes as evangelists. This is fine, fine for them, but for people like me, people that do not buy into the New Age stuff, the evangelists for these kinds of things are a bit of a pain in the arse.

    The people you allude to, many of them, find comfort in their solitude, find peace in their minimal lives. They do not want to be compelled to be amongst others, in a designated place, herded, shepherded, prescribed an identity, compelled to think that an institution, of no matter what kind, is their natural habitat, and the best place for them, when things are tough. They want to be left alone, for the most part. For all the recovery-bashing zealots to back right off and populate whatever moon takes their fancy.

    Some people want to be in hospital wards. They get a lot out of it. They hit it off with staff and the experience is positive for them. Other people want to be in alternative institutions like Soteria, and it works for them, to be indulged by others in a less medical way, although Soteria Houses do not dispense entirely with medication, and of course, they have obligations, and legal requirements, and standards of behaviour and etiquette, institutional rules and modes of being, and are not unknown to ring the police to take over, when they have reached the limits of their limitless compassion.

    It depends, depends, depends. Always it depends.

    Some people such as myself would much rather, at times, be afforded a personal budget, and a full-time personal assistant, and the green-light to pop off somewhere quiet and solitudinal, near the sea, away from the agony of roads, and the filth of fumes and the sickness of bright lights and the horror of microwave technologies. There is the possibility of this, the carrot has been dangling for many for years, and a few have succeeded in establishing a social contract, a personal budget, and assistance to do with that what they will, psychosocially, for the better of their health and will to live and go on with what is, essentially, a very limited and painful life, by nature of the struggles they contend with.

    What I should have been given was a picture-in-picture rectangle in the corner of every single screen that ever got goggled at. I be there, constantly making comments, reacting, correcting grammar and spelling, pointing out logical inconsistences, plot irregularities, and unforgiveable instances of narcissistic character development, and underlining acts and utterances of class betrayal, and bigotry, and self-sodomising pretentiousness, of which there is so much these days, I can hardly come up for air, am deluged by it. For instance I said to a stranger yesterday, do you believe in god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, have you ever believed in god, and he goes no, and I asks, well, there’s a thing and so have you ever indulged the idea that there might be a god, and he goes no, and so I ask, well, then youll struggle with my question, and I knew he had no interest in my question, but I asked it anyway, as I had a compulsion to finish, and so I asks him, do you think that god would request that someone killed themselves, and finally he awakens from his smartphone, and he goes, I DO NOT want to go there with that kind of thing, I dont want to think about it, and I asks, do you mind but do you self-identify as depressed, and he goes, FUCK YOU YES I AM DEPRESSED, and he looks like he’s going to punch me in the face and I smile at him and I goes, well, according to the bible, god loves you and he won’t ask you to kill yourself and in fact if ever a voice or thought appears in your noggin and suggests you should kill yourself, know this for sure, it isnt god doing it

    What I would like to see is less paternalism. Less assumptions being made without actually talking to people and getting a real angle on the true diversity of the mad community, for want of a better collective noun. So much of what is provided or established or proposed stems from the desires and hopes of too small a number of consulted persons, and this, I find, to be a very disagreeble pattern, a perhaps even insulting approach, demeaning, fakey… fakey in the sense of not actually all that concerned with the plight of others, and what they want, and what they think might help them, or even just what they know isn’t helpful to them, but an assumption that because a small handful of celebrity activists push an agenda, that is the totality of the agenda. I find that whole business sordid, and dispiriting.

    I accept that madinamerica is doing its bit to give a voice to people, but it’s like, say at a football match, on the terraces, you can only ever hear the voices closest to you, and even then only the ones that are bellowing the loudest,the rest, the vast majority, just merge into an overwhelm of voices indeterminate. the stories can never be exhausted. personally I consider that to be a wonderful thing. and I thank you sincerely for sharing your own. for a while it’ll ring in my ears. Best of luck and health.

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “There is nothing apart from Mad in America website to help those who try to look for alternative explanations and views. Nothing. While there is an urgent need to actively help those who suffered in a more active way, such as self-education.”

    There are lots and lots of places on the internet that greet people with open arms who have experiences of past lives, or alternate famous personalities, or mystical experiences. Also, pretty much any religion is open to people having these experiences.

    Likewise the internet is replete with psychiatric survivors who are heavily invested in exploring away from the mainstream.

    You might make a start at

  • Ekaterina Netchitailova wrote: “Well Jesus was referred to somewhere as a paranoid schizophrenic…”

    Yes, I see that get repeated often and it’s a real chin-rubber of a statement.

    What you won’t see is people making the effort to think deeper into it.

    The post-Pauline Jesus is a mythical construct. The pre-Pauline Jesus is a human being and nothing more.

    The post-Pauline Jesus would, on paper, meet the criteria for schizophrenia. Except, a mythical person cannot meet psychiatric criteria, except as a kind of indulgent parlour game.

    The pre-Pauline Jesus was a revolutionary in some ways, but did not depart from any of the prevalent teachings of the time, in the East at least. He was very much a human being and does not meet the criteria for schizophrenia.

    Gautama Siddharta (who I do not believe was or is the Buddha, as such a being is a mythical construct) would, at turns, have met the modern criteria for schizophrenia, but not in the context of his own culture, by the by.

    I consider there to be very many people like myself who have suffered significant damage to the frontal lobes (and the parietal lobes) and later to the amygdala, who share many of the classic symptoms of schizophrenia/manic psychosis, and who will often end up with that label, as we live in a world that is uneasy about not categorising things, even when there is an obvious functional problem in a person’s brain.

  • To avoid this game with psychiatrists, don’t play the game with psychiatrists. If you kick the ball to them, and then complain when they kick it back…

    I am Martina Navratilova and I am Joan of Arc and I am Demis Roussos. It’s okay so long as I don’t make those claims to a psychiatrist.

    It’s a bit like walking up to a heavily armed Police Officer in London and telling them you are Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and then complaining that what happened next was an overreaction.

    Surely you wouldn’t say these things to a psychiatrist unless you wanted a reaction? And then… what reaction are you expecting?

  • It may have been a deliberate play on words…

    It’s upsetting to discover that a literary cool-dude such as George Bernard Shaw was also a bit of a kill-y, hatey-y person. I mean, read the Don Juan in Hell section in Man and Superman and come back and tell me you are not stirred into finding something good and thrilling inside you.

    But GBS is definitely being an antiauthoritarian in that extracted speech of his I posted. What is he opposing but the final authority of God and the sanctity of all human life, with the meekest as the core of humanity and the ultimate aim of all compassion. Like I say, have a read of Don Juan in Hell and it all links into the authoritarianism of eugenics which is merely a displacement of the authoritarianism of God and fundamental Christian values.

    Which is the problem of nihilism and the anti. It seeks to annihilate or depose that which it considers an illegitimate authority, via the mechanism of its own authoritarianism. Deposing the despot in order that the space is filled by the deposing authority.

    As I wrote previously, I am under a lot of strain so I could just as well be missing the point.

    A couple of days ago I limped into the local park with my dog and was alarmed to spy three youths attempting to stamp out a fire they had started, that had already part-decimated a children’s play area. I approached them and they all scarpered, but one remained. He reminded me of when the akathisia was kicking in at the beginning of each freshly injected month, all those years ago when I was on the forced depot. He had ants in his pants. It went like this:

    “You know… back in the day… when I was your age… they often wouldn’t listen to me.”
    “Trust!” he replies.
    “I think if they had listened to me, my life might have been much better.”
    “Trust!” he says again, “Trust!”
    “But you know… sometimes… sometimes you do have to listen to other people. To older people, adults…”
    “And you know… playing with fire, arson. In many ways it’s considered by the courts as worse than murder. The authorities are not happy about people lighting fires. When they catch people doing it they often send them to forensic institutions, and torture them…”
    And then the fire engine could be heard approaching. And the firemen started pounding across the grass towards us.
    “This is the bit where you run away.”

    And off he ran with one last, “Trust!”

  • I agree with it. That was my motivation to post it.

    And not without irony, given that an appeal to authority to make a point is a quintessentially bourgeois rhetorical device. But ah well. Lenin nails it.

    The other discomfort is the bourgeois tactics Lenin deployed in exploiting the anarchists and then reneging on the promises post-revolution. That was a dreadful faux pas, although, realistically, would you really want such a wart of disruption growing on your state’s chubby flank?

    I’m under a lot of strain and when I am under a lot of strain I remember bits and bobs from my younger years. I once self identified as a leninist-trotskyist. Those were proud and hopeful days. During those times I made acquaintance with many self-identifying anarchists and I admired many of them, and learnt much from them.

    These days I am a hermit and enjoy watching youtube videos made by targeted individuals. Increasingly I’m feeling an affinity with them.

    Funny how life ebbs and flows, innit.

  • Frank Blankenship wrote: “Yeah, better to stick with nihilism than become a contradiction in terms.”

    Anarchists are romantic nihilists. Nothing wrong with that, as such. Everyone loves a good bonfire of the vanities, even if its vain people carrying the matches.

    Some good things have come out of anarchism. Punk rock. Grafitti. Situationism. All of course easily assimilated, because, as lenin points out, its the flip-side of bourgeois self-obsession dressed up as anti this and anti that. When really the whole point of the anti is that it cannot exist without its antithesis.

    The anti does not want to rid the world of what it opposes. It wants to dance eternally with it.

  • “It is not for nothing that international socialist congresses adopted the decision not to admit the anarchists. A wide gulf separates socialism from anarchism, and it is in vain that the agents-provocateurs of the secret police and the news paper lackeys of reactionary governments pretend that this gulf does not exist. The philosophy of the anarchists is bourgeois philosophy turned inside out. Their individualistic theories and their individualistic ideal are the very opposite of socialism. Their views express, not the future of bourgeois society, which is striding with irresistible force towards the socialisation of labour, but the present and even the past of that society, the domination of blind chance over the scattered and isolated small, producer. Their tactics, which amount to a repudiation of the political struggle, disunite the proletarians and convert them in fact into passive participators in one bourgeois policy or another, since it is impossible and unrealisable for the workers really to dissociate themselves from politics.”

    Lenin, 1905

  • I would also like to be an authority on antiauthoritarianism, maybe even become a bit of an authority figure for antiauthoritarians?

    Actually probably best I stick with the absurdism and the dada.

    Problem with the anarchists is their general lack of regard for other peoples’ stuff. It being a kind of virtuous act of liberation to fuck with other peoples’ stuff, to kinda teach them a fundamental lesson about the illegitimacy of ownership (thankfully rape was broadly discussed and settled as an unacceptable disregard for ownership way back in the 19th C.).

    Bakunin for instance was okay with arson and burglary. You can’t destroy an anarchists property causes it’s all shared and so you’d be destroying your own assets too. So non-anarchists are fair game. Coz they aint sharing.

    This is music to the ears of arsonists and burglars.

    For religious people, there is only one final authority. To the atheist, it’s an unsolved problem, answered with pseudo-talk about the golden rule.

    I think most authority is arbitrary, if you deconstruct it, just a little. Is Simon Cowell an authority on popular music? I think most would say yes, but then would Paul McCartney. And then who knows best between McCartney and Lennon, or both of them and Dylan. It goes on and on.

    The final authority on the absurdism of a human life, any human life, is Samuel Beckett. Although, who’s to say it isn’t Salman Rushdie or De Seus?

    Psychiatry is an authority that people have decided is best suited to these times. They cut through a lot of the crap and put their finger on things that no-one can in actual fact put their finger on.

    It’s a more frightening world without the witchdoctor. And God knows those illegitimate shamans have a lot to answer for…

  • Interesting polemic, Dr Kelmonson. But with one major omission.

    I’m going to write it in uppercase for dramatic effect. Here we go:


    The real conspiracy from China ie the revenge for the Opium Wars, has been to flood Europe with novel psychoactives. These have given rise to the so-called zombie drugs given affectionate names such as Spice and Monkey Dust and so on. Tonnes and tonnes of these novel drugs are being produced in China and shipped out to every major port in the West. They are all variations on a theme, variations of amphetamines, and ecstasy, and amphetamine. And cannabinoids. It was because of this that the UK fundamentally changed its drug laws. Going from a list-model, to a blanket model.

    Also, you forgot to mention Turkey. Turkey was once the number one source of illegal heroin supplies. It was then helped to transform into the world’s number one producer of medical heroin, diamorphine.

    Following the last Afghan War, the world’s number one supplier of illegal heroin is Afghanistan.

    Synthetic opioids are generally more addicting and dangerous than the organic stuff. And there is a worldwide shortage of diamorphine.

    Maybe it is time to help Afghanistan legitimise its opium production, as Turkey did, and become another supplier of legitimate global diamorphine…

    Just to add that if used correctly and under medical supervision opium is more likely to lengthen life than shorten it.

  • @despondent

    I wasn’t struggling with understanding what you were doing. I was more puzzled as to why you were bothering.

    Then again, that calls into equal question my eagerness to reply.

    And again, I’m not sure which of the neurochemicals is driving me to do this. Or drove you to reply the way you did.

    I read a blog piece years ago by The Last Psychiatrist so share your “back of a cigarette packet” understanding of neurology.

    What concerns me is this. All of the antipsychotics at low doses (ie suboptimal) are not acting on the dopaminergic system per se, but moreso on the histaminergic system.

    So a low dose antipsychotic is effectively a high dose antihistamine.

    Now way back when I was self-medicating with antihistamines I was warned that long term I was risking an antihistamine-induced psychosis. And I looked this up. And I found this to be evidenced. And in fact that is why people are discouraged from using antihistamines long-term and high dose as a sleep aid. Doing so can induce psychosis.

    So when I read on here and elsewhere and encounter people in the real world who advocate for the compromise of a low-dose antipsychotic (which, remember, acts as a high-dose antihistamine) I can’t help but feel troubled and a smidge alarmed.

    Might it be that this is actually dreadful advice? Might it be that that low dose antipsychotic is actually perpetuating someone’s suffering?

    Makes you wonder, innit bro.

  • @ despondent

    To continue the theme… which neurochemical do you think was primarily involved in you formulating that opinion?

    LSD, btw, affects the entire brain/nervous system, all of the time that it is active. And the brain is processing information and patterns in peculiarly parallel ways, all of the time, at differing frequencies. LSD kinda screws with all of that, in equally complex ways.

    The dopamine hypothesis is a crude reductionist attempt to make meaning. I think the only actual purpose it serves is to legitimise the neuroleptics.

    5HT2A is the term scientists use instead of serotonin. Fixating on that is also a reductionist attempt to make meaning.

    How many identified neurochemicals are there now?

  • Bob Johnson wrote: “Thus in 1986, I asked a woman I’ll call Grace to address an empty chair on which we’d agreed to place an image, a memory of an abusive parent. “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” I knew enough by then to invite her to say that. Guess what? She couldn’t. I was astonished. She then turns to me, and repeats these words verbatim — no problem there. On turning back to the empty chair, her mind went blank — no words would come out.”

    I would also, in 2018, refuse to address an empty chair with the phrase, “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” This would not be because of a shut-down Broca’s area or non-functioning frontal lobes. It would be because I’d find it very odd for a psychiatrist to be asking me to do this. I would suspect it was a trick request. A mind game.

    This experiment would have yielded better results if the context was changed. For instance, in a drama group. Imagine Grace was in a psychodynamic drama group and was asked to imagine that an abusive parent was sitting in a vacant chair and that she should say, “Hello parent, I’m an adult.” I’d lay my bet on her complying with the request, no problem at all.

    Recently I attended a very brief (about 15 minutes) psychiatric examination to get some kind of confirmation of my diagnosis. At the end he conceded that he could not affirm any diagnosis as the interview was too short and he’d have to see me more often, for longer periods of time, to make his mind up.

    Very reasonable, I thought. Very reasonable indeed.

    Not long after I was called in by my GP to discuss a letter from the psychiatrist. In it the psychiatrist says he could not find any pathology whatsoever. And that I should be completely discharged from psychiatric services.

    Work that one out.

  • It’s heartening always to read articles like these that encourage honesty and non-pretentiousness. It isn’t a particularly popular message, and probably never will be, because it doesn’t offer anyone an escape hatch. And people grow accustomed to their escape hatches. Some even refuse to stand anywhere other than directly above one.

    Honestly, I believe, is always the best medicine. Everyone fucks up from time to time. When power is abused it’s often to conceal personal errors. And that ultimately just serves the beast.

  • “If it has locked doors you’re an inmate, if you come and go under your own power you’re an outmate. Why is this difficult?”

    Don’t forget the shake-it-all-about-mates.

    This is a very, very slow train to liberation. Must be disheartening every time a jet flies over. None of this was or probably is a necessary distraction for the vast majority of people caught up in psychiatric dramas or even those that have found new non-psychiatric dramas to involve themselves in.

    One thing many of us here trapped under the line to endlessly react to an agenda we have no control over… is that we made a way out of psychiatric oppression, to greater or lesser degrees, pretty much entirely by our own will, with very little to no assistance from “professionals”.

    In other words, we rebelled without a guidebook.

    I wonder if I had access to Levine’s guidebook things would have turned out differently?

    Would I still be thinking my rightful place is below the line, or that the endless wait for a train that will probably never arrive is a noble pursuit in life, and that I should work on the envy I feel every time a jet flies overhead?

    Just in case I’m not ignored here — as is usually the case — please don’t embarrass yourself trying to answer these questions.

  • Poison Ivy wrote: “sex abuse survivors don’t lie about how we were abused and by whom.”

    Well, non-sex abuse survivors do in actual fact lie about how they were abused and by whom. Here is an example of a false accuser brought to justice:

    “Jemma Beale, 25, from west London, invented four separate incidents of sexual assault, one of which led to man being wrongly convicted”

    Unfortunately, there are, have been and will go on to be liars who make false allegations for all kinds of reasons, including baffling unreasons.

    They undermine authentic survivors but remind us never to automatically believe anyone lest we inadvertently involve ourselves in human rights abuses.

  • bippyone wrote: “there is no question in my mind that the label of madness is detrimental to a person.”

    Because there isn’t a question in your mind it doesn’t follow that there are no questions to be asked. In many contexts the nouns “mad” and “madness” do not connote something undesirable or even stigmatised. The mad artist, the mad poet, the mad hatter. They are quirky, interesting and attractive tropes.

    Also when people do mad things, like jump out of planes without a parachute (to inspire people), they will frequently be described as mad, and their daredevilness as a mad act. And not a whisper of condemnation will he heard.

    So madness isn’t the problem. Being mad isn’t the problem either. And the nouns mad and madness are definitely not the problem.

    So what is the problem?

    The problem is how the mad person channels the madness into mad acts. It’s how the madness is acted out, in a mad performance, that is the problem.

    Find a way to act out the madness in a way that society accepts (or can learn to accept) and now what was once considered a problem, is an asset.

    As Foucault points out, when leprosy retreated from europe, the mad started to be persecuted. It is possible, I believe, to bring back some of those medieval sociocultural accommodations of madness. It’s not all doom and gloom. And it isn’t necessary to forever fixate on psychiatry and the psychiatric process. Doing so is likely to be self-debasing.

  • After making comment on the Trump Anxiety Disorder is Fake News post by Chris Coombs, I was looking out on a limb with my views.

    But, albeit in a much less developed way, they do kinda align with Thrift and Sugarman.

    It seems crazy that at this stage of the game there isn’t a coherent understanding or consensus about what social justice means, or even looks like. But I agree that it shouldn’t look like a backdoored medical model in psychotherapeutic contexts.

    Probably the biggest problem is the depoliticised landscape. It started here with Thatcher, and Rupert Murdoch, and changing the working class culture from collective to individualist.

    There seems to be a natural tendency for oppressed social groups to veer towards the left. So the “safe spaces” are by and large forbidden from engaging in or encouraging political discourse. If this isn’t adhered to the organisation risks losing its charity status, and funding.

    Goes to show how the banner of social justice can be waved by psychologists who are effectively promoting an individualist agenda.

    The only possible way I can see to subvert these problems and get the better of the situation is through the encouragement, by psychologists, of collective art-forms, such as theatre and film, of the disruptive kind.

  • Unlike the above posters I haven’t had the luxury of sampling many different kinds of psychotherapy and so can’t really be as bold about it as I can be about forced treatment with thermonuclear brain-bombs.

    I do not trust Open Dialogue in the UK. The UK mental health system is now very closely aligned to a new regionalised secret service system and they are also routinely involved in various human rights abuses in terms of covert surveillance. Considering that laws have been passed in this country of the “neither confirm nor deny” type, I have absolutely no reason to believe that any dialogue within the mental health system could be considered open or transparent.

  • “People get anxious about a number of things which are scary.” As well as things which most people would not consider scary at all. “Trump is scary and dangerous” to some people. “People willingly seek out counseling to talk about any number of reasonable anxieties they face in life.” I wish I wasn’t so troubled by other peoples’ language use as much as I am at times, but why the “willingly”? And people also seek out counselling to talk about any number of unreasonable anxieties too.

    In fact, why would anyone seek out counselling for reasonable anxieties about things that most people find scary? Why give someone money except to help you with unreasonable anxieties about things most people don’t find scary?

    Any ideas, Shaun?

  • People are discussing their anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency with their counsellors and therapists and the media has latched on to the fact that one of them had, tongue-in-cheek, described the phenomenon as Trump Anxiety Disorder.

    You think this is wrong because calling peoples’ anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency a disorder, even if doing so jokingly, strips their anxieties of social context.

    I fail to see how jokingly referring to people seeking out therapists and who discuss their anxieties about Donald Trump as having a disorder strips them of their social context.

    Firstly, the social context is that people are seeking out therapy for their sociopolitical anxieties. In other words, to some extent, they are pathologising themselves. There is something wrong with me, there is something wrong with my anxieties about the Donald Trump presidency, therefore I must strip myself of social context by individualising my anxieties and seeking a one-to-one individualised context.

    Secondly, and by consequence of the first, if said people are desocialising their anxieties, through seeking individualised therapies for their sociopolitical anxieties, is it sensible to consider them and their motivations to be ordered (ie. not disordered)? I mean, if a person has a tendency towards individualising sociopolitical anxieties, and seeking therapy for them, rather than engaging in social action, might they fall under the umbrella of narcissistic?

    And — I mean neither to condemn nor support the Trump presidency, as I experience it as pure entertainment — but you condemn him as narcissistic — a veritable disorder — and yet seem to fail to see the narcissism of seeking out individualistic solutions to sociopolitical anxieties.

  • Lithium, after a point, is toxic to all cells in the body, only it tends to affect the brain and the kidneys moreso than elsewhere as that is where it mostly concentrates. Is my understanding (gleaned in part from the great tome of Manic Depressive Illness by Goodwin and Jamison).

    Lithium is a dumbing-down drug, by and large. It seriously impairs the intellect in many people. That can be permanent.

    As Doug Stanhope once observed, most of the psychiatric drugs are dumbing-down drugs. A complaint often made by psychotherapists was that their manic patients were outfoxing them. And that lithium was effective at putting a stop to that.

    So if you’re too quick-witted, lithium or antipsychotic. If you bore the hell out of people, ssri. If you are a pain-in-the-arse, ritalin.

    And if youre tediously emotional, then benzos.

    It’s a game of cat and mouse.

  • “Aren’t they aware that lithium, a nutrient, has been a treatment for mood dysregulation for decades?”

    That’s a deceptive statement. Lithium predominantly acts as a nutrient at low doses (1mg or less). It is not given to people at these doses for the treatment of mood dysregulation. For the latter it is given in much higher doses (150mg and +) and at these doses acts predominantly as a psychoactive drug.

    Would anyone claim that 150mg+ of lithium was nutritional therapy?

  • I agree with you that there are far too many people popping opioids that could be far more humanely helped via other methods, such as excercise, qigong and other oriental approaches to bodily balance, and perhaps psychotherapy as PTSD and childhood trauma can manifest in some people as physical pain.

    I disagree with your hypothesis that functional disorders such as fibromyalgia were invented to create a market for drugs. There are genuine sufferers and they deserve help.

    On a personal level, I avoid all painkillers, pretty much all of the time. I prefer to know what’s happening in my body. But not everyone is an extreme masochist like me.

    Actually one time I did take opioids was following a triple nose surgery. Yes, I have three noses. The surgeon prescribed codeine. It enabled me to lay on my back in bliss, as recommended, to help the nose heal correctly. It made me appreciate just why some people in horrendous emotional pain would seek out such drugs.

    I tried street heroin once, when I turned 40. I didn’t like it. I was alone on Christmas Day for the first time and it did help take the edge off. I have no desire to ever do it again.

    But again it made me appreciate why people in tremendous emotional pain would be attracted to it. And given the world we live in, no-one hardly has much time for people in emotional pain. They are considered an irritant.

  • I successfully stopped taking antipsychotics 20 years ago. 800mg twice a day Amisulpride for nearly 3 years. Prior to that 11 months of a torturing depot injection at a much too high dose (intentionally I believe). And prior to that a year or so of Thioridazine (which I abused, regularly taking twice the recommended daily dose in one day, then fibbing that I’d lost them when my script ran out).

    I did it alone. Secretly. I was in very impoverished circumstances. I was heavily reliant on tobacco (for reasons those in the know, know) and decided to do the antipsychotics first, then address the nicotine afterwards. So often it was a choice between having a little bit of food, electricity and gas heating, or, maintaining a supply of tobacco. So’s I would mostly choose the tobacco. I had no money for clothes. Public transport. I had no phone. No TV. No washing machine. I was very isolated and would regularly go days, sometimes weeks, without human contact. The most regular contact I had was with the pharmacist to pick up the pills. I’d then come home, dissolve them in water, and pour them down the sink.

    What kept me going was walking. I’d walk and walk and walk for miles through the countryside, off the beaten track. Other times I’d spend most of my waking days lying down.

    It took about 3 months to start to feel something approaching normal.

    I continued to keep it quiet for over a year. And then people started lauding me as a drug success story. My conscience got the better of me and I fessed up. I felt a peculiar guilt, like I’d let people down. But I soon got over that.

  • Desinquisiteur wrote: “There is no critical biology, no critical physic, not even critical psychology.”

    Except there is a critical psychology.

    Wikipedia wrote:

    “Critical psychology is a perspective on psychology that draws extensively on critical theory. Critical psychology challenges mainstream psychology and attempts to apply psychological understandings in more progressive ways, often looking towards social change as a means of preventing and treating psychopathology.

    One of critical psychology’s main criticisms of conventional psychology is that it fails to consider or deliberately ignores the way power differences between social classes and groups can affect the mental and physical well-being of individuals or groups of people. It does this, in part, because it tends to explain behavior at the level of the individual.”


    The man who developed the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques for use at black sites and Guantanamo Bay was… a psychologist, James Mitchell.

  • I enjoyed reading this. It made me chuckle a few times. I’m not in the frame of mind to feel much motivated to defend people suffering from functional disorders such as fibromyalgia. You seem very dismissive of them. I suppose some people have a higher tolerance for pain than others. But if it’s ruining someone’s life, popping pills is probably the lesser of two evils. Certainly chronic insomnia induced by unremitting pain would be nothing to scoff at.

    But scoff some will and no matter.

    What advice would you give a sufferer of fybromyalgia? “Stop being a sissy and get over yourself?”

    Actually, my GP would probably say that. He doesn’t mince his words.

  • I’m not an ignoramaus so’s I’ll bash out a reply just as soon as I feel confident that my prose gives me the edge.

    In the meantime try and think of one thing about yourself that no other human being possesses. You are not allowed to say “my mind” because it’s an hallucination and thus doesn’t exist. Something which doesn’t exist is not unique.

  • It’s a sensible statement.

    Forced treatment is a power given to psychiatric systems by the government. Abolishing psychiatric systems will not address the issue of force. In such a scenario the government would opt to give an equivalent power to some other system.

    I would expect currently non-force and anti-force professional bodies would be clamoring to fill the gap should the opportunity arise.

    The only meaningful struggle is to fight for the furtherance of human rights for the mentally disabled. And even then, there would have to be exceptions, some compromise, for a government to even consider it.

  • Thanks for the theoretical considerations, Steve. But I fail to see how any of what you have written above would have stood any chance whatsoever helping poor Akmal Shaikh or anyone like him in a similar pickle.

  • Maybe it would’ve, maybe it wouldn’t’ve. Who knows?

    Point is though that, unlike Chika Honda, Akmal Shaikh was manic. Impulsive. Erratic and ebullient. He was high and, therefore, vulnerable. He was especially vulnerable because he had not been officially diagnosed, despite what Repreive were asserting at the time. Alike Chika Honda, he required a competent translator. Although not to interpret his words, but to interpret his mental state.

    I want to live in a world in which people like Chika Honda and Akmal Shaikh have full human rights in all situations. If you speak a different language you have the right to a competent language interpreter. If you have a mental condition such as untreated bipolar, you have the right to a mental *interpretation* by a competent psychiatrist.

    If you deny that people like Akmal Shaikh have a right to assessment by a competent psychiatrist, then that equates to denying that people like Chika Honda have the right to a competent interpreter.

    And in both cases, because this is the Planet Earth and not Planet Vulcan, having one’s rights asserted and protected does not guarantee an outcome, but it does set a standard humanity is best aspriring to, without exception.

    It’s interesting too that Chika Honda has attracted the rallying cries for justice and even had a film made about her. And rightly so, and I stand with those who call for her pardon.

    But people like Akmal Shaikh are rapidly forgotten. You will hardly ever hear mention of their names. Their stories slip into oblivion very rapidly.

  • “Rather than recognising that neuroplasticity means we hans are all, entirely unique and our way of developing uniqueness is also entirely unique.

    Patterns can be found anywhere, even a snowstorm. That doesn’t mean the patterns are the important thing to note.”

    Human beings are not entirely unique. In fact, it goes even further than that. For a long time our anthropocentrism got the better of us, and our long-gone cousins were depicted in science and popular culture as entirely unique, bestial. Whereas, cor blimey and strike a light, it’s now understood that they weren’t entirely unique, but humblingly very alike indeed. Just read about the neanderthals in europe.

    It’s interesting — to me at least — that the same people that claim snowflake uniqueness are also often to be found aggrandising Jung. And Jung gave rise to the Myers Briggs testing of personality types…

    People are not entirely unique. Even one hominid compared to another, are not entirely unique. And what a horror show it would be if we were. What a desperately lonely planet…

    “We need to give up on trying to find ways to categorise and isolate ourselves and each other and look around, smell the roses, check out the incredible diversity of the world.”

    Yeah man. Like ants and frogs and tuna. Noted for their interpersonal uniqueness?

    Smell the rose in Prague or smell the Rose in Kentucky. Not the same rose but close your eyes and you could be anywhere.

    “A world where it should be possible to seek genuine help without either labelling or shame. Or both.”

    Do you extend this to the socially more acceptable (although nonetheless stigmatising) diagnoses such as fibromyalgia and migraine headaches?

  • Just to add, our PM at the time expressed his horror that Akmal did not even get a psychiatric evaluation of his mental state prior to his execution.

    Another triumph for antipsychiatry?

  • At a guess it’ll be the Power Threat Meaning Model cabal. I wonder why they are being so shy about it? At least 65% of people that suffer psychosis don’t have an underlying trauma. So, why push a model that is only relevant to 35% of the mad? Seems a bit of a power imbalance in itself.

    Of course, understanding how these things tend to pan out, none of these questions are likely to be answered.

    It’s a shame because the main strength of Mad In America is its plurality of voices and viewpoints.

    Ah well.

  • I mean to ask, Why is only one of the ten people involved in the Mad in the UK collective willing to have their identity out in the open?

    One of the abiding aspects of Mad in America I respect is that the identity of everyone involved in its running is proudly shared. Way to go.

  • “The collective is at present composed of 10 people with varying and overlapping backgrounds and interests. 7 of us have survivor experience and 5 of us have MH professional backgrounds (and some have both).”

    Why the lack of transparency from the off?

  • What a brilliant idea! And very-well executed. I hope this takes off and becomes a regular feature.

    Psychiatrists get shunned here often, so, while noting the background to how the idea formed, it’s good nonetheless that this is being fronted by a would-be psychiatrist. It’s in all our interests to get behind substantial reform. And to do that means confronting a lot of controversy.

    Although, I hope the initiative doesn’t descend into a New Age melodrama and keeps its feet on the ground.

    Best of luck!

  • I live in the UK. Our police don’t have the mentality of a rapid response armed military unit.

    You want the freedom to carry guns just in case of civil war or a foreign invasion, so’s you can shoot missiles and armed drones down? Then, you have to take the consequences…

  • Thanks for the kindly words.

    There are so many problems with our mental health systems, it can be quite dispiriting thinking about it.

    In the UK the best chance many people have is to assert their NHS right to choose under the patient’s charter. That involves getting a GP on board and playing abacus with the keepers of the purse-strings, the Clinical Commissioning Group. And then having the staying power of Joseph K…

    Forced treatment is wrong in many cases, I agree. But there are times when certain individuals would never see the light of day unless it was implemented.

    Power imbalances in psychiatric health systems can be very frightening, I agree. Although, in many ways, that is their intended function. A lot of the processes are deliberately intended to bring about behavioral and attitudinal change through classic behavioral techniques. I have yet to meet a psychiatric survivor who has not tempered down their self as a consequence of being tortured or abused, or treated if you prefer. So, unfortunately, these brutal techniques do their work. I suppose those that don’t change, end up dead. Like McMurphy.

  • People have become unhealthily obsessed with the utility of nouns!

    Late Saturday night my old dog suffered a stroke. That’s the name the vet gave it early this morning. If you dig deeper, and are of a maddeningly pedantic bent, strictly speaking it wasn’t a stroke. It was a cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease. Bit of a mouthful, uh… and what does that even mean to a non-veterinarian?

    So my poor old buddy suffered a stroke and when I say that, you know immediately what I am talking about, in very general terms. The word facilitates an instant understanding. Of sorts.

    Now not every stroke in a dog (or cerebrovascular accident arising from vestibular disease) manifests in exactly the same way, but there are some common factors and the prognosis varies too, depending on the underlying causes, the fitness of the dog prior to the event and so on and so forth etc.

    Steve, I’m not much invested in what-ifs when it comes to these real-life issues. It’s way too serious when you’re invested some way in life-threatening conditions such as borderline, there really isn’t time to take-five and expend time imagining how differemt things could be if there was a sociocultural revolution which supplanted psychiatry and replaced all its diagnostic nouns with pregnant pauses and knowing looks.

    In much the same way the vet chose a convenient shorthand. Was she wrong to do that? Would it have been better, if, when I asked her what was wrong with my dog, she squeezed my hand, and said, “Don’t ask me what is wrong with your dog. Ask me what happened to your dog?”

    When really I knew already what had happened to my dog. It was bloody clear what had happened to my dog. What I wanted to know was what was now in this moment and henceforth wrong with my dog and what could I do to help my dog get back on his feet? What could I do to increase the probablity that the crazy little bugger didn’t snuff it?

    I don’t mean to make light of these issues.

    What if I got entangled in a debate with the vet that dragged on for 20 years or more? Me endlessly insisting that there was no such thing as stroke, that it was too generalised, that it didn’t matter, that it was a completely unnecessary term and so on. And encouraged others to invest their energies into that? When those same energies could be more sensibly invested in self-learning and overcoming and personal betterment…

    What if every time I encountered a vet I took them to one side and insisted there was no such thing as a dog stroke. That stroke was a completely meaningless and pointless and deceptive term to apply to dogs? What if I pointed out that so few studies had been conducted on dogs that no-one had a freakin’ clue what a stroke actually was in a dog? And so on?

    I wouldn’t be wrong, but would I be wise?

    Would would be the point? I do all that and take a moment to check the hound and he’s dead and done for…

    The majority of people I encounter online and in real-life don’t have a hang-up about psychiatric nouns. Reading here you get a very different impression. It’s not representative of the bigger picture in that sense. But no-one is stopping people setting up their own countercultural subgroups in which they can choose their own preferred nouns, or none at all. They can do whatever they like.

    Besides, in Europe, in the UK, borderline is on the way out. It’s a dying noun. In it’s place we have emotionally unstable personality disorder. EUPD. A kind of dark unintended homage to brexit.

    To conclude, I respect your position. I don’t agree with it. But I can live with it. I hope the people that reject psychiatry find their peace and their personal meaning and reach a place of livable equanimity for themselves and the people around them. But I would also ask that these same people pull their hands away from their faces at times and come to terms with the fact that many people *are* helped by psychiatry. I know it’s hard, I’ve been there, I know…

    There are proven therapies like Linehan’s DBT and Fonagy and Bateman’s MBT and so on that have great potential in helping people, especially at the more severe end of sufferimg. I want to see a world where people get a medical diagnosis such as borderline and that then opens doors to substantive medical help. I believe that stands a greater chance of coming to fruition in the world we live in. You will disagree and so will others and I have no problem with that. I’m not interested in scoring intellectual points or proving I have the biggest balls in the text box (well, not all the time…)

    That’s me done.